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Offline ags1

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« Posted 2012-08-08 20:09:50 »

Don't you think that many AAA titles sound like games, look like games, have game controls, but they just aren't games.

I'm thinking of ALL MMORPGs for a start - there's no challenge, no skill, and surprisingly for a supposed role-playing game (which were all about story-telling in the eighties) no plot either. I've done my best to love LOTRO but it is so dreary accumulating experience by killing x number of monster y in area z. You go up a level only to kill x++ number of monster y++ in area z++. It is Not A Game!!!

You only have the illusion of playing.

Offline Mads

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2012-08-08 20:13:53 »

Well there are lots of interactive software out there. I would say that MMORPG's are games, but they're not very fun. Grinding can be gameplay, it's just very repetitive and not very fun.

I've seen titles that play themselves, too. More movie than game. Feels like an interactive movie or something. Man.

Offline Riven
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« Reply #2 - Posted 2012-08-08 20:20:32 »

That's why you don't see me playing (modern) RPGs. The only reason you keep playing is because your investment in the previous 'levels' and stopping now would mean you wasted your time. I have more interesting things to do than work my ass of to increase a few database values.

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Offline jonjava
« Reply #3 - Posted 2012-08-08 20:29:19 »

80s? FF9 best game everrr!~♥

Humans are social creatures. Any multiplayer game already has an edge, sadly, this edge dulls down the other parts of a game in most cases because either it's 1) harder to do 2) not needed.

I mean, playing a rpg by yourself is fun, it's like reading a book - but if you've ever read a good book you'll surely want to tell people about it and share the books awesomeness. Just like with movies or anything awesome really. Online games just cuts in the middle of that process.

I mean it varies greatly between genres as well. An MMORPG is completely different from RPG's. Even though they both have RPG in their name. FPS games and online FPS games are also completely different genres. Think half life vs CoD. The trade-off is storytelling vs interactivity.

They're still games though imo.

Offline Rorkien
« Reply #4 - Posted 2012-08-08 20:58:55 »

Take, for instance, Dungeon Master 2 (one of the best games from my childhood, imho). There's no skill, no challenge, and only a bit of story. It was all about memorizing spells and solving puzzles.
Yet, the gameplay elements were original and innovative and the ambient was dark and creepy. The music was pretty good too

But back in the days the RPGs were called "Adventure Games". And were not produced by chinese moefags
Offline ReBirth
« Reply #5 - Posted 2012-08-09 02:38:39 »

Last time I played mmorpg was RF Online. I stopped on level 30 right after I changed my class. Guess what, it's not fun.

Offline coltonoscopy

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2012-08-09 02:50:36 »

MMORPGs are definitely unlike their RPG ancestors. There's some fun in exploring vast worlds with friends, which is mostly what I liked when I played WoW for a short bit, and it can be fun playing against other players in team-based situations, but they do grow very stale when it comes down to mechanics, at least in my opinion. Unfortunately, they all seem to come from the same hybrid-RTS formula that requires little actual thinking and are, as Riven said, about increasing a set of database values. Most RPGs aren't without their relevant databases of information, since RPGs are intrinsically filled with information, whether about your character or about something else, but a good RPG should integrate this all into the gameplay appropriately and make sure everything the player interfaces with is relevant.

My goal with the RPG I'm developing is to make sure it not only takes a good amount of skill in combat but that everything in the game world is essentially interactive to some level. Chris Crawford had some very excellent things to say about game interactivity in his book on game design. MMORPGs, that I've traditionally seen, have an awful lot of graphical filler that makes the game, in some ways, seem empty when you really try to analyze and interact with your surroundings. When you see something in a game--which is what Chris Crawford had to say and which I also believe in--you should be able to interact with it to some degree, not just gander at it. Eye candy is only so useful in a gaming experience. I think this is one reason why Minecraft did so well; the graphics may not be the best, but everything in the whole world you can utilize!

My two cents. :]
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Offline Jimmt
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« Reply #7 - Posted 2012-08-09 02:56:00 »

The problem with MMORPGs, in my opinion, is that more time == better stuff && better level, etc., whereas in an fps if you're a pro player you can just go in there and start killing everything. RPG's are like this too(kinda), but it takes skill to play most RPGs.
Offline h3ckboy

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2012-08-09 06:25:19 »

If you all feel like that, then you should check out guild wars 2, they have put in a lot of effort to address those specific things you all mentioned .
Offline Roquen
« Reply #9 - Posted 2012-08-09 07:36:27 »

The only online game that I've played for any length of time is The Kingdom of Loathing.
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Offline StumpyStrust
« Reply #10 - Posted 2012-08-09 07:40:39 »

hmm...the only MMORPG that I really got into and stayed for longer then lvl 10 (because I realized the mmorpg was just another shit game) was Dark Age of Camelot. It was really good early on where I actually followed the plot but got very stale after the first few expansions. The one thing it incorporated very very well was pvp. I normally hate pvp because they are, as others have said, who ever plays more wins. But, in this there really was a cap that you could reach without having to put in endless hours of playing. And once you reached that cap it was all skill. It was not mashing buttons. You had to time spells, position yourself relative to your opponent in order to execute high dps techniques. You could literally take down a keep with a sword. Huge huge game. Sadly, only hardcore players remain which means it is no longer noob friendly.

Best rpg plot wise for me is Arcanum. Got to love magic mixed with steampunk and a kick ass plot that has massive character development.

Offline Grunnt

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2012-08-09 07:56:17 »

Depends on what you consider to be a "game". I would argue that most MMORPGs are just as much games as pac-man is. Only the challenges and skills required are different.

Quote
no challenge, no skill

Grinding for 48 hours straight is quite a challenge. Organizing a raid with 40 people most definitely requires skill. Admittedly, such a challenge is far from interesting, and organizing a raid seems more like work than fun to me. But for me saying that MMORPGs are not games is much like saying that apples are not fruit, since you do not like apples.

Offline princec

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2012-08-09 08:12:55 »

Whatever floats your boat Wink

I do agree though. Grind is not fun. Stats are not fun.

Cas Smiley

Offline Mads

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2012-08-09 08:58:35 »

Stats and grind in online games easily introduce a power creep. I wonder when theres just too many bits for it to work. It should happen soon with WoW. It has such a huge power creep.

Offline dishmoth
« Reply #14 - Posted 2012-08-09 09:06:12 »

Videogames are like television programmes: there are lots of different kinds that fill different sorts of gaps in different peoples lives.

Arguing that MMORPGs aren't proper games is like arguing that soap operas aren't proper telly.

Offline Riven
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« Reply #15 - Posted 2012-08-09 09:11:22 »

You could argue that some MMO games try to create a gap in your life, and then fill it. persecutioncomplex

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Offline princec

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2012-08-09 10:41:44 »

Short story...

about 6 years ago I got back into pen & paper RPGs with a group of like-minded friends who had been playing continuously for about 25-odd years. I'd taken a break since I was about 15 and discovered alcohol, drugs and girls, all three of which I heartily regret, but that's another story.

In the last 6 years we've played a lot of different systems - we take it in turns to DM/GM every 6-9 months or so as a campaign comes to a conclusion. We've played Call of Cthulu, Age of Conan, Serenity, AD&D4, AD&D5 "beta", a marvellous homebrewed system called KEEN (modeled on Unreal Engine combat no less), and a homebrewed system of mine called AfterEarth which I'm developing.

Before I go further here's my one paragraph musings on each of those systems:

Call of Cthulu is almost an anti-game; like it or not it frequently leaves players clueless or powerless, and the characters dead or insane. If this were the actual objective of the players that'd be fine but really it seems to be just built-in to the system to provide mirth for a malignant DM. Ours is not malignant and even he finds it extremely difficult to make the game enjoyable. CoC is like war: months of tedious preparation, waiting, fannying about, followed by 5 minutes of terror and then death. Maybe this is why it works.

AD&D3.5 is a total mess of layers upon layers of rules. There's so much in it and so little consistency it should probably be read to games designers at night to frighten them. Players of AD&D3.5 are missing the point of RPGs so widely I don't think they even realise they're not really playing RPGs but simply navigating a nightmarish land of twisted geometries and the deranged imaginings of what appears to be 100 game designers, none of whom talk to each other. We sort of looked at AD&D3.5 and we might have even played a scenario but it was so forgettable I can't even remember what it was.

AD&D4 is everything that shouldn't be in a pen & paper RPG. It's basically an online MMORPG converted into paper format. You almost need a computer to play it. It's not an RPG, it's the mechanical application of a complex and unyielding set of parameters to achieve a specific result. All online MMORPGs fall into this category. There's as much "role" playing as there is in Space Invaders. You are the commander of Earth's last defence tank! Right. I played a human wizard called Lazarus who was a humourous mash up of ineffectual megalomania (level 1 wizard, haha) and Rincewind cowardice.

AD&D5 beta is more consistent and simpler to play but fundamentally lacks the charm and rich tapestry of other RPG systems such as Warhammer or AoC. It's like David Eddings fantasy versus Tolkien - a big mac and large fries, flavourless, bland, junk food versus haute cuisine. As it's a beta that's the last I can say of it except that the actual mechanics are both more consistent than 3.5 and far easier and more fun than 4. I played an Elven wizard called Vim Twinkletoot, who is an arrogant ponce.

Age of Conan has that rich world feel to it that Warhammer has which makes it so immersive to play. However it is plagued by a massively complex pile of rules which appear to fundamentally be based on the maxim that more complex is more fun and you can never have too much fun, right? Every single silly little thing has a rule and data written somewhere, from buying sausages in villages of between 100-150 inhabitants to casting 15-day long arcane rituals with 100 disciples to summon a daemon to make the tea. Gameplay consists largely of declaring intent, followed by 10 minutes of reading and crossreferencing. I played... a wizard (surprise) called Ezekiel, fairly closely modelled on the little bald asian shaman dude in the original Conan.

Serenity had a lovely simple system and a universe to explore but ultimately a fairly limited appeal due to the difficulties of dealing with RPGs in space ("space is big. Really big. etc") and the fact that it's set in what is basically a very short time period in a fairly sketchy setting. I played a nutcase engineer called Url Doe, based on the main character in My Name Is Earl. He ended up being so mental he wore a literal tinfoil hat, and 7 pairs of underpants simultaneously.

The KEEN game we played had the inklings of a really intricate and detailed universe all inside the DM's head and had a focus on realtime mechanics and consistency.

The AfterEarth system I've been developing my antidote to AD&D4.

Prior to this I played an awful lot of WFRP.

Anyway... these systems can be broadly classified into two main schools of thought: there's the Grinding Advancement school and there's the Specialisation Balance school. And of course the boundaries aren't as clear cut as that, but I describe the two schools thusly:

Grinding Advancement systems are all AD&D variants, and Conan to a lesser extent. The players constantly aim to advance stats which will make them arbitrarily more powerful (typically in some entirely abstract, unbounded range). Their reward is... arbitrarily more powerful NPCs / monsters to defeat. Also, the players gain magical loot, and in return, get to defeat arbitrarily more powerful NPCs. The balance of the game is like watching a sine wave, angled slightly upwards, which increases in amplitude as time goes on. Fundamentally nothing really changes but the players are compelled to keep levelling up and collecting magic loot because that's really all there is to do beyond advancing the plot (and unfortunately the plots are generally pretty bland being set in lacklustre high fantasy with few hooks). The players are tricked by deep psychological urges into continuing to level up and advance. It's built into most people's minds and it's clever how these systems appeal to this sort of positive feedback system using a combination of the constant illusion of "progress" interspersed with random "rewards".

Specialisation Balance systems are what people do when they realise that Grinding Advancement systems are just giant self-licking lollipops which actually have no purpose beyond short-circuiting. Specialisation Balance replaces constant upward grind with a fairly finite cap on the raw "ability" of characters and the option to specialise in specific areas. Given that there's a limit on vertical advancement, it shifts the focus of the game party interplay into one of providing richer and more diverse options; and it also seems to foster a greater sense of humility and attachment to a particular character - even highly experienced characters in these systems are usually just as close to sudden death as green novices.

IMHO, specialisation balance systems are very rare in computer gaming because they require a much richer and more diverse environment in order to actually have fun with them that most game designers give up realising that actually making a game out of it is going to cost massively in terms of resources and programming versus the nice, easy shortcut route of grinding advancement, which particularly suits itself to making games where you simply increase numbers constantly and get newer, bigger monsters to fight.

Any Diablo 3 players in here? Have you noticed that no matter how you really play or advance you're always in roughly the same amount of peril? What would happen if you met something really dangerous and got killed? You'd moan it was too hard. What if your tooled up level 500 fighter wandered into a dungeon full of snotlings? You'd moan it was too easy. Yet specialisation balance systems are all about being able to do exactly this. And given those choices you have room instead to grow your character's personality as there's not a lot else to grow. Why would your experienced warrior wander into a snotling den to murder them all? Well, he probably wouldn't, because even though he's been in the wars he's still just an ordinary man and a knife in the back will kill him. Why would your n00by mage attack Al H'Thrath (Slayer of Gods)? Well, he wouldn't, because he's not so bloody stupid as to try.

Rantity rant.

Cas Smiley

Offline princec

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2012-08-09 10:49:11 »

Also see 5 creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted.

Shamefully I'm trying to use as many of those ideas as I can Wink

Cas Smiley

Offline ags1

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2012-08-09 10:57:05 »

princec, you may want to look up an RPG called Paranoia. It is the ultimate anti-game with such a high mortality your characters actually have several clones, and the goal of the game is to survive by ratting on your team mates to a paranoid supercomputer. Forget advancement in any form! The Computer is watching you! You have been volunteered for service as Reactor Shielding! Congratulations.

CoC is the best RPG ever, I loved it, but haven't played it for years. I'm glad to hear it lives on.


Offline appel

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2012-08-09 11:04:03 »

I like the games during the 90's period, when game makers were just little studios with handful-dozen developers making a good game, unlike today's hundreds of people working on a AAA title. Those games were both technical marvels, introducing graphically something you've never seen before, and original gameplay.

Now, every game is churned out by a massive studio or brand like EA, seem to use the same graphics for every game, and have nothing technically innovative, and gameplay is simply yet-another-game-like-that. 90% of large games are simply a rinse-and-repeat of previous game.

I'm not saying you don't see original titles, but they are more rare.

Trying out every game today is impossible, there are simply too many. It costs time and money to try out a single game, and for many you'll only get 2-4 games per year. So, consumers may be less tempted to try out the unknown than the old and proven.

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Offline princec

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« Reply #20 - Posted 2012-08-09 11:06:33 »

We've got Paranoia... we're just too old and wise to play it. It is, as you say, an anti-game. Many years later I now realise that the rulebook for Paranoia was really just a massive joke. It wasn't meant to be actually seriously played; it is a collection of every bad idea in games design in a very cleverly written and funny, well-thought-out rulebook.

In CoC I current play a "minder" with an eyepatch called Blott, who looks after an arrogant, carousing, self-centered, debauched and largely disinterested nob who has been largely disinherited by his aristocratic father. Great fun. Previously I played a detective called Sam Slade who resolutely refused to believe in the existence of anything remotely paranormal. Well, to begin with Cheesy We tend towards doing this sort of thing in CoC because there's no other way to really change or differentiate a character. Without the constant dripfeed of advancement (there IS advancement, but it is excruciatingly slow and actually has a negative feedback mechanism) we instead build on our character's personalities, goals, and motivations, rather than mindlessly whacking the button hoping for another pellet of cocaine.

Cas Smiley

Offline Roquen
« Reply #21 - Posted 2012-08-09 11:22:04 »

To a certain extent is pretty impossible to compare pencil-and-paper RPGs vs. computer.  Anyone that's run a pen-and-paper game with decent players knows that your carefully planned out scenarios won't really work anything like you expected unless you're force feeding the story to the players.  They'll pretty much always do something too insane to consider or find some crack to sneak through or cleverly side-step, etc. etc.  You have to adapt to the "collective" storyline that unfolds the best you can to have fun.  Stuff like this is simply impossible to script up.  Err..I've forgotten what point I was working toward.
Offline princec

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« Reply #22 - Posted 2012-08-09 11:33:39 »

You were probably going to say how that games designers have co-opted the term RPG for their pale shadows of imitations of the real thing, and that the reality is that the only bit of real RPGs that is present in their computerised imitiations is the P. The R is absent, and like the OP has noticed, it's barely a G.

Cas Smiley

Offline Grunnt

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Complex != complicated


« Reply #23 - Posted 2012-08-09 11:59:41 »

<snip>Rantity rant.

Cas Smiley

Now I'm impressed by your story-telling skills.  Grin A really interesting read which brings into words things I've been thinking for a while. The biggest problem I have with grinding advancement is the lack of satisfaction I get from it. I played WoW for a long time and got addicted a little, until I realized how little fun I was having. Grinding is not fun, but it sure is addictive. Until you realize how the system works, then it's not so hard to hate grinding advancement and lose interest in it. Diablo III was a big disappointment for me, for this reason.

Specialisation Balance systems appear to me to be much more closely tied to "skill as effort" based games, as opposed to "time as effort" based games that rely on grinding advancement. Specialization balance can only grasp my attention for longer periods of time if I get a feeling of accomplishment, of increasing skill, by skillfully combining different specialized skills.

Anyways, thanks. Got me thinking.

Offline princec

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2012-08-09 12:34:08 »

Indeed - when players have to rely on inventiveness and cunning and out-of-the-box thinking to achieve their goals, rather than just ensuring they have a bigger set of numbers than the opposition, that's when things get more interesting. Still... it makes for a usually terrible computer game experience, because inventiveness and cunning and out-of-the-box thinking fit incredibly poorly to the remarkably limited environment that a computer game offers.

More boring Cas stuff:

In AfterEarth I've also been trying to reduce the players' reliance on huge ranges of probability to justify their actions to themselves. D20 is at first glance a very elegant and simple system - you roll a D20, add some stat and have to beat a certain value (say, 5, 10, 15, whatever). Unfortunately a D20 gives us 20 possible random values. What does +1 mean in real terms? Should I take a risk knowing I've got a +1 chance? The human brain is totally inept at understanding probability (if it was any good we'd all be playing poker. And of course then poker wouldn't exist because it relies on people who are better at understanding probability playing versus people who aren't but think they are). So I've removed one of the sacred cows of pen & paper RPGs and chucked out all the funny dice and left it with a D6 based system, which gives us basically 6 ranges of probabilty. Seems human beings are much, much better equipped to deal with a very short range of probability. Also removed all the tons of modifiers. And all the stats are based on very low numbers ranging from about 1..10, where human beings are "3" on average. And there's only 4 stats. But there we go, it won't be to many peoples' tastes.

Cas Smiley

Offline Roquen
« Reply #25 - Posted 2012-08-09 12:36:14 »

I've often thought about attempt to making a CFRPG that I'd like to play, but sadly my potential worldwide target audience would be about 3 people.
Offline Cero
« Reply #26 - Posted 2012-08-09 14:31:32 »

Guild Wars has a fair amount of storytelling and plot. Other than that MMO's really lack it.
Which is probably why I cant play them too long.

Either the game has to give you motivation -> story, or what happens in the game -> other human players. Starting such a game with a group of friends helps, because then they motivate you...

But yeah I'm all for storytelling in all types of games, and most severely lack it.

Offline Roquen
« Reply #27 - Posted 2012-08-09 14:34:08 »

And sadly most attempts at storytelling target pre-teen boys.  sigh.
Offline gimbal

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« Reply #28 - Posted 2012-08-09 14:35:46 »

Guild Wars has a fair amount of storytelling and plot. Other than that MMO's really lack it.

True. If only it wasn't of the "prophecy" type. I am so tired of stories having to do with a chosen one or a prophecy, its just lazy writing to do that YET AGAIN. Its only been done hundreds of times before.

Perhaps I already complained about that before in which case I apologize for the repetition Wink
Offline princec

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2012-08-09 14:42:04 »

http://progressquest.com/

Cas Smiley

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